NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The MTA has unveiled an ambitious plan to modernize the city’s transit system, including more work to overhaul the subways.
Andy Byford, president of New York City Transit, said after 100 days on the job he’s got a plan to fast-track subway signal upgrades in the next 10 years from the previously forecast 40 years.
“We believe we can cut that 40-year time frame by 75 percent,” he said at an MTA board meeting Wednesday. “We believe that we can deliver nearly, not entirely but nearly, the entire subway system onto modern signaling within ten years.”
In the next five years, Byford said a new signal technology known as communication based train control will be installed on portions of the most heavily traveled subway lines.
That will come with an added inconvenience for the three million people who use those lines.
“Greatly increasing the number of weekends and overnight closures to expedite work and give crews the access they need,” Byford said.
Five years after that, upgrades will be installed on parts of the 1, 2, 3, B, D, F, M, S, N, Q, R and W lines.
What Byford wouldn’t say is how much it would all cost, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported. Previous reports have said the plan would cost $37 billion.
In a statement, Comptroller Scott Stringer called the plan “a big step in the right direction.”
“Now it’s up to the MTA to make sure it’s implementation is not slow-walked. New Yorkers have waited long enough for trains and buses to run on time, and any more delay will only serve to further hurt straphangers and further drag down our economy,” the statement continued.
Transit advocates and passengers are skeptical considering the agency’s track record is delays and over budget projects, Rozner reported.
“Can’t be done,” said Brooklyn resident Joe Pratt. “I’ve worked a lot with the MTA with different contractors. Five years, never be done. Maybe 20 years.”
“There’s nothing but trouble every day so if the MTA can do something good for us, then I’m all for it,” said Staten Island resident Regina Delia.
Also part of the plan is putting in seven times as many security cameras underground, redesigning the bus network and improving accessibility.
The plan can’t be done without approval from the MTA board and the governor and proper funding.